Specialty Chemicals Company had undergone numerous ownership changes—a factor that contributed to company instability. The fallout was extensive: declining productivity and financial performance, especially at its major production plant, a large cash flow generator. Because the plant fed products to its other facilities, its reduced productivity impacted the entire manufacturing network.
Owners hadn't viewed manufacturing as strategically critical, so the basics for operational excellence weren't in place. The company had under-invested in maintaining and improving its key plant. Equipment was underutilized because of disrepair; dirt, leaks and spills were routine; it lacked key performance indicators (KPIs) as well as a continuous improvement program such as Lean Six Sigma. The shop floor itself hindered optimization, with a poor layout and inefficient workflow processes. To rapidly turn around operations, the company needed a roadmap to eliminate waste, achieve sustained cost savings and improve on-time deliveries for more satisfied customers